The Family Court of Trinidad and Tobago

“Violence and the ProblemSolving Court.”
The Family Court of Trinidad and Tobago
Maureen Rajnauth-Lee
High Court Judge
Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago
The Establishment of the Family Court
• In the year 2004, the Family Court of
Trinidad and Tobago opened its doors as a
model in both form (physical facilities and
structure) and function (judicial and nonjudicial supports)
• The Family Court - the first problemsolving court in T&T
• The Family Court designed as a
one-stop shop
The Family Court as a Problem
Solving Court for Domestic Violence
• High Court and Magistrates’ Courts
brought together to deal with high
incidence of domestic violence
• In the year 2010-2011, there were 11,984
domestic violence cases filed in the
Magistrates’ Courts
How did the Family Court solve the problems
of victims of Domestic Violence and improve
access to justice?
We made the Court understandable and easy to
navigate....a customer service approach.
• Customer Service Representatives
• Intake Officers
• Pro Se Counters
We made the Court less foreboding,
providing Dignity and Privacy
Private Court Rooms
• Relieves stress
• Painted in “happy” colours.
• Waiting rooms decorated with
plants and park benches
• Cafeteria
We Solved the Problem of Child Care
Children’s Waiting Room
• Babies and toddlers
are cared for, free of
charge, by highly
trained and friendly
• Toys, games, books,
sleeping mats and
cribs are provided
We Solved the Problem of Child Care
Youth Waiting Area
• Young people are
supervised by highly
trained and friendly
• a pleasant
environment outfitted
with computers,
books, a TV and DVD
“A ONE-STOP SHOP” to solve
many problems
The Court provides on-spot services:
• Mediation
• Counselling
• Other Social Services
• Referrals to Government Departments
The Court funds:
• Psychological and Psychiatric Assessment and
• DNA testing in Paternity Cases
• The Court also operates an Emergency Fund
(HOPE - a Violence Intervention Programme)
The Family Court operates the HOPE
Programme, that is, Holistic Opportunities
for Personal Development.
We offer
• Hope for Men
• Hope for Women
• Hope for Youth and Children
The Hope Programmes are
designed to:
• Take the blame off the victims
• Hold batterers accountable
• Keep victims safe
The Family Court of Trinidad and Tobago
has the lead role in coordinating the HOPE
programmes in T&T
The Problem-Solving Judge
Success Stories:
• “The Bail Boys Project”
• “A Magistrate and her network”
The Family Court contact
details are as follows:
Tragarete Road, Port of Spain,
Trinidad and Tobago
1-868-623-0395 or 1-868-623-0567 or
Church House Conference Centre